COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND. Proteus Racing today accepted an invitation from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to compete in the 2013 Giro D’Italia, and set the team presentation for 7pm (EDT) on Thursday, April 4 at the team’s headquarters in College Park, Maryland. Officials at the UCI, the governing body for Pro Tour racing, confirmed that U.S. based Proteus will be the fifth “wild card” selection for the three-week stage race, bringing the full roster for the 96th Giro D’Italia to a record 24 teams.
The decision was triggered by a ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in February, which reinstated the Pro Tour status of Russian Team Katusha, bringing the UCI’s Pro Tour roster to 19 teams, up from the 18 teams customarily certified. Katusha had been dropped from Pro Tour status for “ethical reasons” by UCI’s Independent License Commission in late 2012. None of the four wild card teams previously invited to the 2013 Giro — Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela, Columbia, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, and Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox — were demoted when Team Katusha regained Pro-Tour credentials. According the UCI officials, the fifth wild card entry was granted to Proteus Racing in accordance with updated race rules from 1966, which specify that the Giro must have an even number of teams.
“We are delighted to accept the invitation,” said Laurie Lemieux, owner of Proteus Bicycles. “Having an amateur team with everyday commuting bikes and gear will be a breath of fresh air for Grand Tour racing.”
The 2013 Giro starts on May 4th in Naples and ends on May 26th in Brescia, Lombardy. This year’s parcours features 7 flat stages, 5 medium-mountain stages, 5 high-mountain stages in the Alps and Dolomites, a team time trial and an individual time trial. The 2012 winner of the Pink Jersey for general classification (Maglia Rosa) was Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Team Garmin).